Damian Lillard, a year after competing in five All-Star events, seemingly won’t participate in even one this season.
And no skills challenge.
Shams Charania of RealGM:
The NBA, as negotiated in the Collective Bargaining Agreement, could have required Lillard to participate. The league can compel any skills challenge (plus 3-point shootout and shooting stars) defending champion to return the following year.*
*The NBA can generally make players participate in those events, of which the dunk contest is specifically excluded. An exception is players who competed in that event the two previous years, and Lillard did. But an exception to that exception is defending champions.
Perhaps, Adam Silver just gave Lillard a break after the agonizing decision to spurn him, rather than DeMarcus Cousins, for Kobe Bryant’s injury-replacement slot.
Meanwhile, Lillard’s co-defending champ, Trey Burke, wants to defend his title:
Unfortunately, the Jazz guard will need a new partner (unless the NBA wisely scraps the tandem format) after he and Lillard clicked so well last year: